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Information bulletin
No. 131 (March 23, 1948)

Decentralization of government,   pp. 8-10 PDF (1.7 MB)

Page 9

for they are at the same time locally
elected officials and state function-
aries. The result is a lack of a clear
definition of responsibilities which is
detrimental to local self-government.
Furthermore, the state governments
have made provision for per capita
appropriations to municipalities and
counties, and, in addition, they reim-
burse them for certain expenditures.
However, the financial settlement
does not provide a clear-cut sepa-
ration between local expenditure
and  expenditure incurred  in the
exercise of state functions.
THE FIRST election laws of the
three states had provided a two-
year term fo all elected local govern-
ment officers who had been elected
in the first months of 1946. The
second local elections of Wuerttem-
berg-Baden were held in December,
1947. The recent election law pro-
vides for a maximum six-year term
of office. Elections in the other states
are expected to take place in April,
During 1947, associations of local
governments were reestablished in
all states of the US Zone: Gemeinde-
tage, representing-the smaller com-
munities in rural counties; Land-
kreistage, representing the govern-
ments of rural counties; and Staedte-
tage of Stadteverbaende, representing
the governments of the cities.
The function of these associations
is to provide a means for exchange
of information and experience in
local government problems and to
promote the interests of local govern-
ment in connection with pending
state  legislation  on  local  ad-
ministrative matters. The Staedtetag,
for instance, has proposed a draft of
a new municipal government law.
The associations of city govern-
ments of the three southern states
have joined with the city govern-
ments in the British Zone in estab-
lishing  the  Deutsche  Staedtetag,
which, in September, requested the
Allied Control Council to approve an
all-German conference to be held in
Berlin for the discussion of urgent
municipal problems. But the council
could not agree to approve this
The constitutions of all four states
provide for governments of a par-
MARCH 23, 1948
liamentary type elected by propor-
tional representation. These govern-
ments consist of a unicameral legis-
lature in Hesse, Wuerttemberg-Baden,
and Bremen, and a bicameral legis-
lature in Bavaria.
At the head of each state is a
minister-president, or in the case of
Bremen, president of the senate,
elected by and (except in Bavaria)
subject to the confidence of the
legislature. In the three southern
states he is assisted by a cabinet
named by the minister-president and
confirmed by the legislature. In
Bremen, this cabinet is called a
senate and all members are elected
by the legislature.
The second chamber, also called
the senate, is provided for in the
Bavaiian constitution consisting of
representatives elected by various
vocational groups.
Efor an independent judiciary
and a supreme court with power to
render final decisions on questions
of constitutionality. The supreme, or
constitutional, court is  organized
variously in the four states. Thus far
only Bavaria has implemented sup-
reme, or constitutional, court.
The cabinets formed under the
constitutions in December, 1946, and
January, 1947, have shown a great
deal of stability. Changes have oc-
curred in only one cabinet. In Septem-
ber the Social Democratic Party
members withdrew from the Bavarian
government, and the cabinet had to
be re-formed. A few minor changes,
however, have occurred both in Hesse
and in Wuerttemberg-Baden.
An MG directive of September 30,
1946, advised military and civil
authorities that ratification of the
constitutions would mark the be-
ginning of a new period in the
relationship between military and
civil government, but that specific
limited restrictions would continue
to be imposed upon the civil govern-
ments. Functions of Military Govern-
ment were limited to:
1. Observation, inspection, report-
ing, and advising.
2. Disapproval of only such econ-
omic, social, political, and govern-
mental activities as it may find to
violate clearly the objectives of US
occupation policy.
3. Removal  of   public  officials
whose public activities are in vio-
lation of these objectives.
German travelers receive travel and identification documents from
Hessian border police as they prepare to board a plane at the Rhine
Main airport on the first postwar Frankfurt-Berlin run open to German
passengers.                                     (Pss, OMGH photo)

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